A vacation is an adventure that always starts off so exciting with thoughts of perfect travel, exciting experiences and wonderful fresh food that surely await me when I get to my point of destination–in this case, the Big Island of Hawaii.
Getting to sleep the night before leaving is one big giant game to be played between myself and myself, trying to convince my excited brain that if I don’t go to sleep right now, I am going to be a miserable crab the next morning. Sometimes my brain gives me a break and lets me go, but more often than not it salutes me with a giant middle finger and continues to torment me with things like the same one line from the most annoying song I heard that day, or the constant reminder that the library will not last without me and everything is just going to go to hell. This is usually one of the only times in my life that I wish I was a robot and I had an on/off switch. If I didn’t think that the hubby would turn me off (a lot) I and leave me stored in a closet somewhere I would probably wish for such a thing more often.
Eventually, though, I do fall asleep only to get to the deep REM stuff three minutes before the alarm clock goes off. There’s usually some kind of deep, feral whine of pain and inevitable cursing, but then I remember what is in store for the day and I get over it. Kind of. Take a shower, check the luggage, get the kid out of bed, get him breakfast, double check the luggage, turn off the water, check that all the doors and windows are locked, triple check the luggage, look for aspirin, pack carry-on luggage, grab money out of the piggy bank, quadruple check the luggage—do we have our id’s? A beehive of activity descends upon us, necessary but extremely frustrating knowing that whatever we forget to pack and do here will have a huge bearing on how the rest of this thing is going to play out. It’s a hell of a lot of pressure for 5:30 in the morning.
Because we usually do like to travel very early in the morning, we hardly ever run into any trouble when we are heading to the airport. In fact, it has become one of the most relaxing times of the entire vacation and it is infinitely better when we can get someone else to drive there (and throw us gently out of the car) when we get to the terminal–I swear that Denver International doesn’t want the car to even stop anymore. This time the bubble of contentment that was fostered during the ride over was rudely (and extremely loudly) popped when I opened the car door to get out and someone began yelling, “Keep going! Keep going! What are you doing?! You can’t park there! Keep on moving!” I’m trying lady, I’m trying, but I didn’t factor in the fact that my luggage weighs more than me and that I would need a bodybuilder to help lug it out of the trunk.
Finally we make it to the terminal to check in and my patience meter (which started at at this point was 99 percent CHILL) is now down to 98 percent. Not bad at all, but I know that there is still a long way to go and anything can happen. The bags get checked and as they float way on the conveyor belt I experience a moment of panic, convinced that I have forgotten my toothbrush, my good walking shoes and an extra bra—the necessities to a great vacation. After a quick moment reassuring myself that there is a Target everywhere in the world, I follow the boys to security.
Now there’s this weird thing at DIA where the employees work really, really hard to convince you that the security checkpoint at the north side of the terminal is much, much faster to get through than the south line. I mean, I don’t know if this is some big ploy to keep the south line available only to the super awesome, beautiful people (I mean– the hubby ALWAYS drags us a quarter mile away to the north line) but let’s just say that I wouldn’t at all be surprised to find that it is so. I have promised myself that someday I will eschew the strong suggestions and get in the south line, if only to prove to myself that the employees of DIA don’t have THAT much authority over me. If want to wait longer, I will just wait longer, damn it!
But let’s blow past all of that nonsense and get on to the real stuff—I need to get to my plane! I honestly try to keep up with the boys, but let’s face it, Mama has a lot of junk in her trunk and fat on her front (I couldn’t think of a cute rhyme for that) and she ain’t gonna be moving as fast as anyone else that early in the morning. The boys look at me in exasperation as we get lapped by three elderly ladies and a family of thirteen thousand (I forgot to take into account that it was Christmas) to realize that our normally, well, normal south line is looking a little foreign to me. I see the regular zigzag line, and I see the TSA Precheck “I’ve got the big bucks so I don’t have to stand in line” line and then I see an even longer line that wraps around to the baggage check area.
Seriously?! We start walking past the people that have already gone through their seven stages of grief about the length of the line and it is revealed that we’re not just going to the baggage area, oh no, we are going all the way to the NORTH baggage area. Up yours, DIA! I stare at all of my fellow travelers as I trudge past them (and try to make eye contact to non-verbally commiserate over how we could all be so clueless as to get ourselves into such a pickle) but it’s pretty clear that no one wants to play. We are in a race and we are all at the starting gate waiting for the pistol to crack.
…to be continued…
Part 2: Some Vacations Don’t Need an Airport